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Gemma

Radlett, United Kingdom
  • 24
  • reviews
  • 73
  • helpful votes
  • 54
  • ratings
  • What a Wonderful World

  • By: Marcus Chown
  • Narrated by: Clive Mantle
  • Length: 10 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 309
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 283
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 276

Why do we breathe? What is money? How does the brain work? Why did life invent sex? Does time really exist? How does capitalism work - or not, as the case may be? Where do mountains come from? How do computers work? How did humans get to dominate the Earth? Why is there something rather than nothing? In What a Wonderful World, Marcus Chown, best-selling author of Quantum Theory Cannot Hurt You and the Solar System app, uses his vast scientific knowledge and deep understanding of extremely complex processes to answer simple questions.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Superb!

  • By Craig on 19-04-15

Very basic

Overall
1 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 27-12-16

The science here is very basic - some of it GCSE level, some A level, but nothing beyond. It might be good for a pre-GCSE student, or for an adult who didn't get or can't remember their science education, but otherwise it's too simple and basic to be of interest.

It's accessible and explained simply, but not very entertainingly.

The reading was good apart from the narrator putting on voices and, even worse, accents, whenever he read out a quote from another scientist. I couldn't help but cringe every time he attempted a foreign accent. Why, just why?!

  • Killers Uncut

  • By: Blake Crouch, Jack Kilborn, J. A. Konrath
  • Narrated by: Patrick Lawlor, Angela Dawe
  • Length: 9 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7

This is the infamous follow-up to Serial Uncut, featuring 21 different serial killers. For everyone who thinks the bad guys are so much more fun to read than the good guys, we’ve written a novel just for you. In the annuls of modern thriller fiction, the villains always steal the show. We love to read and watch great villains. In many cases, they’re the best, most entertaining parts of our books, so it only made sense to write a book featuring every major villain we’ve ever written.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Disjointed and disappointing

  • By Gemma on 23-11-13

Disjointed and disappointing

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 23-11-13

This is not a novel but a collection of short stories read one after the other. The description and introduction gives you the impression that the stories will be linked together to form a cohesive whole but this is not the case. Although the same characters feature in stories from when they are children and then throughout their lives, there is little character progression and no plot linking them together.

I am a big fan of Jack Kilborn and I've loved all his other books but this left me bored and disappointed.

The female narrator, Angela Dawe, has a very irritating way of lifting her voice at the end of each sentence which irritated me every time she spoke.

Although some of the stories were good (some better than others) I will not be listening to this again.

  • The Mask

  • By: Dean Koontz
  • Narrated by: Natalie Ross
  • Length: 8 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 32
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 18
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 18

So young, so sweet. She appeared out of nowhere, in the middle of traffic, on a busy day. A teenager with no past, no family - no memories. So blond and beautiful. Carol and Paul were drawn to her - she was the child they’d never had. A dream come true. And then Carol’s nightmares began - the ghastly sounds in the night…the bloody face in the mirror…the razor-sharp ax.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Very good... Just too short!

  • By Liam on 24-03-10

An entertaining listen

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 23-11-13

The story is entertaining despite being fairly predictable. There are some humorous exchanges but this is 'straighter' than the style seen in Koontz's other works like Odd Thomas and Life Expectancy.

It's genuinely creepy at parts and well-paced, keeping up the tension throughout.

I really liked Natalie Ross's reading, she has a lovely voice that I could listen to all day and she does a great job with the different character's voices, both male and female.

I was disappointed in the ending which left questions unanswered and was very abrupt, but I would listen again.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Casual Vacancy

  • By: J.K. Rowling
  • Narrated by: Tom Hollander
  • Length: 17 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,052
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,427
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,428

When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early 40s, the town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty facade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils.... Pagford is not what it first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Stick with it

  • By Amazon Customer on 05-10-12

Slow start but worth the wait

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-09-13

If you could sum up The Casual Vacancy in three words, what would they be?

Character driven, blackly comic, slow building

What other book might you compare The Casual Vacancy to, and why?

I don't think I've ever read one quite like it.

Have you listened to any of Tom Hollander’s other performances? How does this one compare?

No. I liked his reading very much.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I felt many emotions at the end: sadness at the way Krystal's sub-plot wrapped up, happy at the way Samantha's did, guiltily happy at the way Howard's did, sad for Andrew and hopeful for Fats. The characters were developed very well.

Any additional comments?

I don't think you need to be a Harry Potter fan to enjoy this.

  • Phantoms

  • By: Dean Koontz
  • Narrated by: Buck Schirner
  • Length: 14 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 484
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 372
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 371

They found the town silent, apparently abandoned. Then they found the first body strangely swollen and still warm. One hundred fifty were dead, 350 missing. But the terror had only begun in the tiny mountain town of Snowfield, California.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brilliant Nonsense

  • By Chris on 12-08-11

Well read but badly written/edited

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-09-13

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

Someone who enjoys a story that's padded out to the death? I liked the premise and the main story but I feel it was far too padded out and could have done with a severe edit. Jenny and Lisa spend a long time searching the town at the beginning and when the police arrive they repeat the entire search, discovering the same things, in the same detail. That whole section should have been dealt with much more quickly so the plot could start moving forward.

What does Buck Schirner bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

He was a good narrator with great pacing, a fair attempt at different voices for different characters, and his voice was not jarring or distracting. I have to say his English accent was terrible!

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Phantoms?

I would have condensed the first half of the book, cutting it down to about 1/3 of its original length. I would have upped the pace and built tension as time went on, as personally I didn't feel any tension or fear of 'The Ancient Enemy'.I would have had more scenes outside of Snowfield to break up the monotony of being with the same characters in the same building with not much happening.

Any additional comments?

I feel this was perhaps made with the intention of making it into a film and the writing suffered as a result.

11 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • The Ruby in the Smoke

  • By: Philip Pullman
  • Narrated by: Anton Lesser
  • Length: 6 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,727
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,525
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,516

An unabridged reading of Philip Pullman's nerve-shattering thriller, set in the murky streets and opium dens of Old London. When 16-year old Sally's father drowns in suspicious circumstances, she is left to fend for herself in Victorian London. Although she doesn't know it, she is already in terrible danger.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A layered and satisfying listen

  • By Barry on 08-09-16

Wished for a different narrator

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 13-08-12

I enjoyed this trilogy immensely as a teenager and I thought I would find out how good they are as an adult. I still enjoyed the story and the writing very much but I was disappointed in the choice of narrator. Anton Lesser reads very narrative very well but the dialogue was missing something, perhaps because his voice doesn't have much range and he was speaking for several female characters as well as male.

This would have been perfect with a full cast, as His Dark Materials had.

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • The Wasp Factory

  • By: Iain Banks
  • Narrated by: Peter Kenny
  • Length: 6 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 592
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 473
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 476

The Wasp Factory is a bizarre, imaginative, disturbing, and darkly comic look into the mind of a child psychopath - one of the most infamous of contemporary Scottish novels. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • PERFECT

  • By GOGS on 14-10-08

Dark, funny and perfectly read

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 13-08-12

One of the best books I have read/listened to in a long time. Frank is a wonderfully developed character, and all the side characters are interesting too. Despite the rather horrific narrative this book is often very funny, and the phone calls between Frank and Eric had me in stitches.

The narration is perfect, I could listen to Peter Kenny's voice all day.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • A Game of Thrones

  • Book 1 of A Song of Ice and Fire
  • By: George R. R. Martin
  • Narrated by: Roy Dotrice
  • Length: 33 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,619
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,778
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 9,791

The complete, unabridged audiobook of A Game of Thrones. HBO’s hit series A Game of Thrones is based on George R. R. Martin’s internationally best-selling series A Song of Ice and Fire, the greatest fantasy epic of the modern age. A Game of Thrones is the first volume in the series. Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A truly brilliant fantasy novel

  • By Qasim on 16-09-11

Brilliant novel, bad narration

Overall
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 13-08-12

I couldn't finish this audiobook. The narration was dull and there was not enough distinction between the character's voices. The timing was also poor and description and dialogue were said in the same breath so I found myself losing track of who was talking and didn't have time to digest the narrative.

Very disappointing. I would have chosen John Lee who narrated Pillars of the Earth for this.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Trapped

  • By: Jack Kilborn, J. A. Konrath
  • Narrated by: Phil Gigante
  • Length: 10 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 75
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 31
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 31

It was supposed to be a harmless camping trip. Six wayward teenagers who'd run into trouble with the law, and their court-appointed guardians, Sara and Martin Randhurst. Three nights on a small, deserted island off of Michigan's upper peninsula. A time to bond, to learn, to heal. Then Martin told a campfire story about the island's history. Of the old civil war prison hidden in there, and the starving confederate soldiers who resorted to cannibalism to stay alive. Everyone thought it was funny. They even laughed when Martin pretended to be dragged off into the woods.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I wish this book could be made into a film..

  • By Ilastrious on 29-06-11

Original horror

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 30-05-12

This should probably be classed as "black comedy" as well as horror to avoid disappointment from people who like their horror serious and sinister. Kilborn's style is to throw at you as much gore and as many disgustingly painful ways of killing people as possible but in a darkly humorous way. I laughed out loud at several points and rather than detract from the horror, it makes it even better.

This is the third Kilborn audiobook I've downloaded and he is definitely a bit obsessed with cannibalism, people who are deformed or physically different (like being super tall) and people who are mentally unstable. I found this novel quite similar to Endurance, and I think Endurance does it a bit better. I don't think the pacing of Trapped is quite as good as it takes a while to really get going and then there isn't really a building of tension.

One thing I have really enjoyed about Kilborn's books is that the characters are very original and not the usual horror stereotypes. He seems to like using strong female protagonists to fight the bad guys and doesn't just use them as fodder - that's a refreshing change. However I found Sarah quite uninspiring as a heroine in Trapped. I much preferred the characterisation of Tyrone and Cindi and my biggest disappointment with this is that we didn't spend more time with Georgia, who was fascinating and entirely unique. In a way I think it's a shame she was a bit part in a novel and didn't get to star in her own.

I can see from the other reviews that I'm not the only one who thought "this would make a good movie" while I was listening. Hopefully some movie makers will see our reviews!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Hannibal Rising

  • By: Thomas Harris
  • Narrated by: Thomas Harris
  • Length: 7 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 238
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 177
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 179

Longlisted for the Audiobook Download of the Year, 2007.
Hannibal Lecter emerges from the nightmare of the Eastern Front, a boy in the snow, mute, with a chain around his neck. He seems utterly alone, but he has brought his demons with him. Hannibal's uncle, a noted painter, finds him in a Soviet orphanage and brings him to France, where Hannibal will live with his uncle and his uncle's beautiful and exotic wife, Lady Murasaki.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Masterpiece !!!!!!!!!

  • By Vic W on 14-12-06

Loved every minute

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 30-05-12

I can't praise this novel highly enough. Several times I jumped back a few chapters just to hear them again! It is very well written, the plot goes forward at a good rate and the characterisation is excellent. I see inspiration here both from Memoirs of a Geisha (with the language, not just the fact that there is a Japanese lady) and Perfume by Patrick Suskind. I especially like that Lecter and Grenoille both have a 'memory palace' and both novels are quite darkly comic as well as being unspeakably sad.

At first I was disappointed with the narration. It should be much longer than 7 hours because Mr Harris narrates too quickly. However after a few chapters it stopped bothering me and I enjoyed his natural accent as well as the other accents he attempted.

What I like most about this is that it doesn't reduce a mysterious, almost superhuman 'bad guy' to a normal guy with a bad past. It does explain why he first kills - and it's a motivation that we can probably all sympathise with - but it does not explain why he carries on killing after the novel's events. It is at the end of Hannibal Rising that he becomes a monster, and once a monster he is no longer subject to normal human desires and motivations.

Well worth a listen.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful